Truland bankruptcy could delay GWU work

Reston-based electrical contractor Truland Systems’ decision to file for bankruptcy could delay the construction of the new George Washington University science and engineering building and cost the construction company, Clark Construction, hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to documents filed in bankruptcy court Thursday.

Clark Construction, the prime contractor for the GWU Science and Engineering Complex, subcontracted with Truland to provide electrical services for the project. But Truland employees stopped work on the project by July 21, two days before Truland filed for bankruptcy. That could cost Clark $7,000 a day and lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in contractor delay claims, an attorney for Clark Construction said in a motion filed Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“The delay in completing the critical path electrical work will not only result in late delivery of the project, which would expose Clark to liquidated damages of $7,000 per day; but, it will impact the other trade contractors on the project, resulting in potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in trade contractor delay claims,” wrote Clark’s attorney, Patrick J. Potter of Pillsbury Winthrop. Potter did not immediately return a request for comment.

Truland filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 23. Before shutting down, the company had about 1,000 employees.

The new GWU complex, to be completed by 2015, is expected to be 700,000 square feet and include eight floors of research and teaching laboratories and four levels of parking.

Under Clark’s contract with Truland, Truland would be liable for all of those costs, the motion said.

The motion asks the court to schedule a hearing so Clark can replace Truland as a subcontractor on the GWU project.

Clark Construction has built some of the most prominent structures in the Washington area, including Nationals Park and the Washington Convention Center.

In a separate motion, two former Truland employees on Wednesday filed a class-action lawsuit against their former employer, saying the company violated federal law by not giving employees 60 days advance written notice of their terminations before shutting down.

Catherine Ho covers law and lobbying for the Capital Business section of The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.
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